Sunday, March 18, 2012
In Praise of Soccer Moms
As she drove, K. fielded phone calls on her cell phone from her husband, from other soccer coaches and from the managers of three other soccer teams with which she is involved. It occurred to me, that were it not for women like K. my son never would have played what is now his ninth soccer season with our local club. K. never finished college, but she has the management skills of someone running a thriving business.
Without women who stay home for at least part of their children's childhoods, so much of what other children in my suburban community enjoy - the travel soccer teams, the privately subsidized public schools' music programs, and so on, would not exist.
K. was pitching in as coach with one of our assistant coaches with L., another stay-at-home mom who does have an MBA - and four school-aged children. Our head coach, a man , was out of town on a business trip.
I sat down with my knitting on the sidelines next to the team manager, the person who coordinates all the practice schedules, and game schedules and who has to figure out when the basketball season ends and when so-and-so has a bar mitvah that most of the kids are going to so we can't schedule a game. T. sat with her four-year-old son nestled in her lap napping. T. is the mother of four, a former public school teacher who left that profession to raise her children, who range in age from high school to preschool.
To be clear, I don't believe every woman is called to be home with her children or, conversely, that every woman is called to be in the paid workforce. And, as my own life shows, these roles can change as our children grow. I have been a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom, and a working full-time in the workplace mom.
Sitting beside me and the team manager on the sidelines were two other moms - a litigator who works for a Manhattan law firm and has one son and a college professor of political theory with three children, including twins.
I don't think if you had listened in on our conversation you would have known who was who: who has the PhD. and who has spent nearly two decades at home with children. We talked about our sons' public school experiences about the social and academic sides of their lives. And to a woman, each of us is what I consider a good-enough mom, loving, kind and involved.